The White House has denied that it has a “secret” committee seeking negative information about marijuana, according to a letter from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) obtained by Buzzfeed News.
“I assure you that ONDCP seeks all perspectives, positive or negative, when formulating Administration policy. You have my full and firm commitment that ONDCP will be completely objective and dispassionate in collecting all relevant facts and peer-reviewed scientific research on all drugs, including marijuana,” ONDCP Acting Director James Carroll wrote in the letter dated Sept. 21 and sent to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D).
Bennet previously questioned the White House after Buzzfeed News reported that the Trump administration was convening a multi-agency committee tasked with combatting public support for marijuana.
The committee, called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, was reportedly directed not to consider positive health effects and societal benefits of marijuana, which the ONDCP in the September letter denied.
In a letter to the ONDCP in August, Bennet called the committee an “intentional effort to mislead the American people.”
“I am deeply concerned by this intentional effort to mislead the American people,” Bennet wrote in the letter. “At a time when we should be investing in objective and peer-reviewed scientific research on marijuana and the effects of legalization, the White House is instead using taxpayer money to spread a politically-driven narrative.”
In his letter, Bennet cited the original Buzzfeed News report, which said the White House was convening a “secret” committee that instructed 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to come up with “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana.
But the ONDCP in their response disputed that “policy coordination committees” like the marijuana one are “somehow secret, unusual, or outside the appropriate process for policy development in the executive branch.”